Irenic Thoughts

Irenic. The word means peaceful. This web log (or blog) exists to create an ongoing, and hopefully peaceful, series of comments on the life of King of Peace Episcopal Church. This is not a closed community. You are highly encouraged to comment on any post or to send your own posts.


Religious Drift

The Washington Post reports on a recent Pew study showing that "spiritual drift" is the primary reason why people move from one denomination to another. Study Shows Americans Leave Religion Due to Drift, Not Rupture says that,
Almost three-quarters of Catholics and Protestants who are now unaffiliated with a religion said they had "just gradually drifted away" from their faith. And more than three-quarters of Catholics and half of Protestants currently not associated with a faith said that, over time, they stopped believing in their religion's teachings.

Pew Forum senior fellow John Green said that result surprised researchers, who had expected policy disputes or disillusionment over internal scandals -- such as the clergy sex abuse controversy in the Catholic Church -- to play more of a role in people's decision to leave a faith.
What caught my eye was the rationale for the drift. The article went on to quote John Green as saying,
It suggests that what leads people to leave their faith is that, somehow for some reason, it isn't meeting their needs. Religion becomes less plausible to the person.
These are two interesting statements--not meeting my needs and less plausible. It sounds to me like a consumer mindset in which the church exists primarily to meet my needs, when I wonder if that is primarily what a church is for. Perhaps it is the place where one mininsters and meet the needs of others. And not just clergy, but all Christians. Is the church there to meet my needs, or am I the church, there to be part of a congregation that meets the needs of others? Even in asking the question, I am providing my own answer that the church is for me, but for me as a place to worship and serve according to the gifts God has given me. And when one is doing this, faith becomes not just head knowledge, but heart knowledge and part of my experience. When I put down roots and start to see how I can grow in the place God has led me, drift becomes less likely. I have seen this in my own life (before ordained ministry) and in the lives of others at King of Peace and elsewhere. What do you think?

The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor



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